Twenty-two miles from Mount Hood’s snowy peak, in an alpine river valley teeming with birds and oscillating light, lives a wild farm. Cows, chickens, and pigs graze among vines, and fungi and flowers proliferate as gardens merge with forest. Our wines are exciting for their wild exuberance when they are young, but they will only reveal their full potential to unite disparate time, place, and experience when stored properly for many years — a minimum of five years, but ideally 8 – 15 years following vintage — in a dark place between 53 – 60 degrees Fahrenheit and at 80 – 85% humidity.Wines labeled as Hiyu come from our hillside farm above the cool, swift waters of the Hood River. Each wine is from one of 16 named fields. We give these fields identity by planting them with a mixture of grape varieties inspired by an imagined moment in the history of the vine. Each of these small plots is picked by hand, fermented by wild yeasts, bottled by gravity, and labeled with the name of the field. Collectively these parcels are home to 112 different grapes and are organized into four families: Light Phenomena, Birds of Prey, Constellations, and the Hedgerow. Each reflects the specific influence of light, stars, creatures, and plants on these alpine wines.
Winemaker’s note: “In 2015 we purchased and began to farm the additional 12 acres of vines next to The May that would become Hiyu. Five of us worked together in the field and cellar that year to produce about 850 cases of the inaugural vintage. The vintage was very hot (at moments near 115 degrees during veraison) and all the wines were wildly intense. Many of the wines were part of our first release in 2017 including “Ramato” (the inspiration for the wine that would become Aura) and Arco Iris. The most extreme of all these wines was a blend of Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris from an amphitheater of vines below Arco Iris and next to the pond. This wine shares inspiration with the wines of the May and was made during a period where we were working with Pinot Noir in a way closer to Barolo than Burgundy.”
Grapes: Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris
Place: An amphitheater that captures the sun beside the pond and the cool air rising from the river. Sandy loam on basalt soil.
Making of: The grapes are hand-harvested, then sealed in an open-top wood vat until they consume most of their sugar. They’re then dug out and moved to the press, with an impressive quantity of whole bunches at this stage thanks to the hands-off fermentation. “The flavors that result feel more transparent and closer to the experience of being in the parcel,” says Nate.
Personality: “It feels almost like black and white film. The sour cherries, rose and truffle are there but somehow experienced as desaturated nostalgia,” says Nate. “Culture: Babette’s Feast.” (If you don’t know the film, we highly suggest tracking down a bottle of Moon Dog and savoring it while you watch.)